Connect with us

General Hospital

3

(INTERVIEW) Lisa LoCicero Talks How She Landed on General Hospital, Being on the ‘Jewel in the Crown” of Soaps, and the Camaraderie of the Cast

Photo: ABC

General Hospital’s Lisa LoCicero began her journey as Olivia Falconeri from Bensonhurst back in 2008. When she came to Port Charles, it was a dream come true for her. LoCicero is one of several actresses in the soap opera medium that watched daytime dramas growing up and later wound up working on the set of that very same show they loved.

Tonight, ABC is airing its primetime special, General Hospital: 60 Years of Stars and Storytelling beginning at 10 pm ET/PT immediately following The Golden Bachelor nuptials, The Golden Wedding. In it, LoCicero appears with many of her GH castmates including the Quartermaine clan. After all, Olivia married into one of the series most iconic families when she tied the knot with Ned Quartermaine played by Wally Kurth.

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Lisa where she reveals when she first started watching General Hospital, how at one point she almost became a Brenda recast, and how the character of Olivia was born, plus what it means to to be a part of the ensemble cast of this legacy show, and much more. If ever there was a cheerleader for GH, Lisa is it! Here’s what she shared about living out her dream in Port Charles along with a little preview of tonight’s primetime special.

Photo: ABC

We’re celebrating 60 years of GH tonight with a primetime special. I just remember you were/are a big fan of this show. Did you first watch when you were growing up?

LISA: I cannot say that I’ve been watching all sixty years. I’m not quite that old, but I did start watching with my grandmother when I was probably eight or nine. My grandmother, who just died this past year at the age of 100, she got me watching. I always say; we would sit on her sofa and she would be watching General Hospital, smoking cigarettes, doing needlepoint, and drinking Tab from a can with a straw, if anyone wants a visual. I remember, there was an earthquake on the show. I feel like it was Steve (John Beradino) and Jessie (Emily McLaughlin) at the Nurse’s hub, and the hospital was shaking. That’s the one that I remember the most.

Did you then begin to dream of one day being on GH?

LISA: People always ask, being a longtime fan, what would be your dream? We always used to sort of laugh about it. In the Christmas episode, John Beradino would be reading to the kids. “I’m going to tell you a story about a very special baby.” The kids go, “The baby Jesus?” Steve goes, “That’s right, Tommy. The baby Jesus.” I believe that Olivia is the one to someday say, “Okay Kids. I’m going to tell you a real special story about a very, very special baby.” The kids say, “The baby Jesus?” She goes, “Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. Good guess. The baby Jesus.” I feel like we could pull it off.

Photo: JPI

Did your grandma watch you when you were on General Hospital?

LISA: We talked all the time. The one that really got me mad was when, and it was part of my Emmy reel, I really blew up when Olivia found out that Sonny had cheated on her, when they were hypothetically dating and he had cheated on Olivia with Ava resulting in a baby. She really lets loose on him. My grandma was like, “What were you so mad at him about you?” She goes, “It’s not like you guys were really dating?”

I know you had appeared on other soap operas from Loving, The City and One Life to Live. How did you land the part of Olivia that would take you to your favorite show?

LISA: It went like this: after being on Loving and The City, I tested to play a new character on One Life to Live. Apparently, I really knocked it out of the park at that test, which was with Michael Easton (ex-John, OLTL, now Finn, GH). They did not give me that part, but at the same time I was testing for a recast Lois on General Hospital. They wrote the character of Sonia Toledo for me on One Life to Live based off those two screentests and scenes. and that entire Puerto Rican mob storyline went over like a giant lead balloon. It was not a good thing. It was voted the worst storyline in soap history, and then some years later, I came in to GH to test for the role of Kate Howard.

Photo: ABC

Did you test with Maurice Benard (Sonny)?

LISA: I tested with Maurice when they used to do tests in Jill Farren Phelps (ex-EP, General Hospital) office. I thought I nailed the audition. Then, my agent got a call saying, “We have something better for her coming up.” And I was like, “What?” I assume they were blowing smoke up my ass. They actually were talking about maybe bringing me back as a Brenda recast, and that would’ve been the only job in the world that I would’ve actually said “no” to. That would’ve been just a hot mess. That is something that no actress ever would want to do. Luckily, it turned out that they really wanted the Kate character to be a dual personality type of thing from the beginning. That she was like the uptight one, and the flip side, a down and dirty Olivia-type character. However, that really wasn’t coming off of the original Kate (Megan Ward). So, they created this character for me to sort of play that other aspect from Sonny’s past. They created my character to bring “Sonny! You shot your own son!” to the table. They wrote Olivia just for me.

So, when you finally get to GH and you’re actually there, it’s like a dream come, true? Did other people in your family watch General Hospital?

LISA: It was a dream come true in every way. Oh, everybody, my whole family was excited and watched. There were summers that I literally woke up in the morning, started watching the ABC soaps which were at the time, Edge of Night, Ryan’s Hope, All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital. My family had seen me on Loving and The City and One Life to Live, but this was General Hospital, which has always been the jewel in the crown, in my humble opinion, and as evidenced by the fact that it’s the one that’s still on.

Photo: ABC

It was so interesting that we’re talking about Sonny shooting Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), and Olivia seeing her son bleeding on the floor. On this Tuesday’s episode of GH, Lois and Olivia have a huge blowout in their friendship when Lois brings up the shooting.

LISA: Can I just say, that day there had been a lot of schedule changes, because that week a lot of people were out sick, and the scripts and the shooting had changed around. I got to work that day having memorized the absolutely wrong script. The only time in my life it’s ever happened. So, I literally realized that we were shooting those scenes like maybe 30 minutes before we had to tape. It was quite literally things that actors have nightmares about: the cameras are rolling and you didn’t realize that you had to memorize the script.

Sonny shooting Dante and Olivia running in finding him on the floor, is now one of the classic moments in GH history!

LISA: If I show up in however many, “greatest moments in soap opera history,” that’s where I’ll show up. That moment usually makes at least the top 20. Sometimes, it’s in the top 10. Usually, you can find in the top 20, “Sonny, you shot your own son!” I’m proud of that as a longtime soap actor.

Do you remember taping that scene?

LISA: Well, to some extent. You sort of go into another world at that moment. It’s also when you’re shooting a soap, as you’ve heard a million times, it’s all so immediate. You haven’t rehearsed it, and you can’t practice it.  It’s so much on instinct. They say,”Action!” and you’re going to just run in there, see what you see, and do what your body does. You have to think, “What would it look like if you saw your son get shot by the dad that says he didn’t know he was his dad?” And you know what? Sometimes it works better than others. That’s what’s so great about soap operas. You’re going to see something that is more raw than you’re going see in any other medium.

Photo: ABC

The cast filmed the primetime special over a couple days before the holiday break. What do you recall from the taping? What can you preview?

LISA: I mostly appear in the Quartermaine section. There’s going to be some nice clips from the history of the Quartermaine family, and Jane Elliot (Tracy) Wally Kurth (Ned) and Rena Sofer (Lois) and I do a couple little interstitials where we are queuing up the great and rich history of the Quartermaine family and what they’ve meant to the show. I will say, there’s a very, very special ending to the show. So, if anyone’s tuning in, you gotta stick around till the very, very end.

Photo: LLoCiceroIG

When people ask you what you do, and you say, “I’m on General Hospital,” is it a sense of pride for you?

LISA: Oh, my God, totally! And, even if as actors, sometimes you’re thinking of wanting to be on some sort of like fancy, new, prestige, streamy, whatever, but when you say you’re on “General Hospital,” everybody knows what you’re talking about. Everyone is like, “Oh, my God.” And often it’s like, “I used to watch that in college, or “My grandma watches that,” or the one that we all agree can be fairly offensive, “It’s my guilty pleasure.” I’m like, “What are you so guilty about?” It’s a great show. It’s that, and when people say “Soaps are great training ground for actors.” I’d love to see them train to do what we do, quite frankly. But, it is a thrill when someone says, “What do you do?” And I get to say that “I am on General Hospital. ” It’s been the better part of my adult life. What was supposed to be 10 episodes has been almost 17 years. I’ve sort of been raising my two kids through my time on GH. Luke was about eight years old when I started. He’s now graduating college, and Verity is now eight-years-old. They both sort of learned to read by doing lines with me.

Photo: ABC

Can you speak to the camaraderie of the cast? Obviously, we all know that it was a tragic and difficult 2023 with so many beloved members of the GH family then and now, passing away including: Jackie Zeman, Nneka Garland, Tyler Christopher, Billy Miller, and others. What can you say collectively how you are together? Do you feel that this ensemble group are good friends with each other, as well as trusted castmates?

LISA: It is said too many times, it’s becomes a trope to say. “It’s really like a family,” but it really is a family, and it’s even beyond that, because in most families, everyone’s sort of codependent, and stuffs all their garbage down, and doesn’t talk about their problems. When at work you’re going to have to look deeply into someone’s eyes, not just remembering lines, but really, really being vulnerable, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually vulnerable with that other person in front of millions of strangers. That is a bond that you don’t share with your actual family members. So to say that we’re a family doesn’t even do it justice. If you’re going to do love scenes, you’re walking into your place of business and going, “At some point in this next year, I might have to take my clothes off and make out with you. ”  That is a level of community that most people do not share with a bunch of people that aren’t their family or even people that are their family.  So, it really is a closeness that most people on earth will not ever quite understand. I would say that in the years I’ve been there, it goes through peaks and valleys in terms of the whole group thing. There are moments that we all remember that everyone was really, really cohesive. Then, there are times it dissipates a little bit when people go and a whole bunch of new people come in, but then it builds again. I think right now, we really are in one of the golden moments in the years that I’ve been there with people really getting along and having each other’s back. There’s a text chain that I’m on with six of the ladies from our show. I won’t say who they are, but we really are close and share moments, and get help when we need it from one another and support. It’s one of the things I value most, in life, quite honestly.

Photo: ABC

Are you going to be watching the GH special tonight with popcorn nearby?

LISA: Oh, yes! With popcorn or something better!

 

Leave a comment | 3 Comments

3 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thanks, really enjoyed reading this article

Love her! Olivia is like the moral center of the Quartermaines now.

I’ve always loved Olivia, but not always her choice of men. Her relationship with her sons is outstanding, especially Leo.

General Hospital

‘General Hospital’ Reignites Scott’s Feud with Sonny Over His Past Misdeeds of His Late Daughter, Karen Wexler

In what now seems like many moons ago, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) was a small-time mobster who owned a strip club in Port Charles. He enticed a young Karen Wexler (Cari Shayne) to work as a stripper at the Paradise Lounge.

But things got worse from there! Sonny convinced Karen that stripping was her idea, and he eventually got her hooked on drugs and into his bed!

Karen’s father, Scott Baldwin (Kin Shriner) has never forgotten what Sonny did Karen and for years wanted to take him down when he was the D.A. Fast-forward and on Wednesday’s February 28th episode of GH, Scott visited Karen’s gravesite on her birthday.

Courtesy/ABC

However, Scott had a visitor at the gravesite when John “Jagger” Cates also showed up to pay respects to his ex-wife.  This was the first time Scott laid eyes on the new incarnation of “Jagger’ on-screen as played by Adam J. Harrington.

Scott realizes he might have an ally to put the screws to Sonny after John reveals the pain and sorrow he still has over what Sonny did to Karen. Speaking to his former son-in-law about the break-up of his daughter’s marriage to him, Scott pipes up that Sonny, “walks around like he’s the mayor.” Then, Scott shouts to John, “Make him pay! Take him out!”‘

Photo: ABC

In Karen’s backstory: after getting help, Karen was reunited with “Jagger” and left Sonny. The two married and left Port Charles. Karen returned as medical student and had divorced “Jagger” in 1997, and the character landed on the General Hospital spinoff soap opera, Port Charles. Eventually, Karen was struck by a car and died. Three actresses played the role during Karen’s history: Cari Shayne, Jennifer Harmon and Marie Wilson.

Watch Scott and John talk about their vendetta against Sonny Corinthos in key scenes from GH below. Now let us know, do you think Sonny should pay for his manipulation of Karen Wexler many years ago? Comment below.

Continue Reading

General Hospital

General Hospital’s Kate Mansi on Her First Scenes with Eva LaRue: “It Was So Tense and Uncomfortable, Which Was So Fun For Us.”

This week, General Hospital viewers have witnessed the arrival of Eva LaRue as Blaze’s (Jacqueline Grace Lopez) mother, Natalia. When Natalia blew into her daughter’s life, she also caught Kristina (Kate Mansi) in bed. The next moment, Mansi and LaRue played the awkwardness of the scene.

In the story, and at that point, Natalia apparently didn’t have a clue that her daughter is gay, so finding Kristina is her daughter’s room was puzzling to her.

Kate Mansi spoke to Soap Opera Digest on her introduction to soap veteran LaRue, who has appeared on All My Children as Maria Santos and won a Daytime Emmy for her role as Celeste Rosales on The Young and the Restless.

Photo: JPI

“She just came in like such a freaking pro,” shared Kate on LaRue. “She was so good. It was such a funny first introduction for our characters – it was written so well and it was so tense and uncomfortable, which was so fun for us.”

The two actresses instantly created a bond. As Mansi explained, “Right away, we were doing these funny one-liners back and forth (between scenes). Blaze said something like, ‘Kristina is more than my friend, she’s my partner,’ and then they’d call, ‘Cut!’ and Eva and I would look and each other and we’d be like, ‘She means writing partner,’ or she’d be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, she means producing partner, right?’ We were just dying laughing.”

Photo: ABC

On Wednesday’s episode of GH, Natalia learned Blaze was gay, but isn’t quite believing her, thinking she had been somehow influenced by Kristina.  In the key scenes, Blaze tells Natalia that Kristina is more than her friend. She’s her girlfriend. Blaze asks if her mother heard what she truly said, and Natalia claims she did, but then starts cleaning up the place as a method of trying to cope with what she just heard.

Things get testy when Blaze says, “Kristina and I…” Next, Natalia cuts her daughter off, firmly saying, “There is no Kristina and you!”

So, did you enjoy the tension-filled scenes between Kate Mansi and Eva LaRue? Are you liking where GH is heading with the story of a disapproving and religious mother, trying to come to terms with her daughter and her girlfriend’s sexuality? Comment below.

Continue Reading

All My Children

Maurice Benard Reveals All My Children’s Lee Meriweather and Daughter’s Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

At the beginning of the latest episode of General Hospital star, Maurice Benard’s (Sonny Corinthos) State of Mind series, he delivered some heartbreaking news with a purpose.

Kyle Oldham, the daughter of former All My Children star, Lee Meriwether (ex-Ruth Martin), who previously made a guest appearance on Benard’s show, returned for a new interview which will be coming soon.

During their conversation, Oldham shared that her beloved mother has Alzheimer’s. Sadly, according to Benard, Kyle also revealed she has been diagnosed with the disease as well.

Photo: JPI

Maurice expressed, “We talked about her mother and having Alzheimer’s and it was an amazing interview. And then Kyle said, ‘I gotta tell you something. I have Alzheimer’s.’”

Apparently, Kyle has agreed to come on State of Mind, periodically as the effects of Alzheimer’s take a hold of her to help educate others. “We decided that she was gonna come in … she was gonna call me and tell me as she progresses,” Benard shared. “She was going to come in again so the audience could see with their eyes what Alzheimer’s does to someone.”

Benard’s guest for this current episode of State of Mind was Vernee Watson (Stella, GH), who along with Maurice, was part of the Alzheimer’s storyline on the ABC daytime drama series that saw Mike Corbin (Max Gail) eventually pass away.

Photo: JPI

As for Lee Meriwether, not only is she known for her role on AMC, but also for her roles as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie, and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, and for the television series, Barnaby Jones, the New Andy Griffith Show and The Munsters to name only a few.

In soap operas, Meriwether was cast in The Young Marrieds years prior to her time on All My Children where she replaced Mary Fickett in the matriarchal role in the Martin family. She played the role from 1996-99, 2002-03, and 2007-11.

Meriwether’s daughter, Kyle Oldham, has been an actress and spokesperson herself through the years. She appeared on The Price is Right for over 14 years until she couldn’t anymore after going through multiple surgeries in her adult life.

You can check out the full episode of State of Mind with Maurice an Vernee below.

Share your thoughts on the sad news of both Lee Meriwether and her daughter Kyle Oldham, battling the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in the comment section below.

Continue Reading

Video Du Jour

Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

Recent Comments

Power Performance

Kim Coles as Whitley

Days of our Lives

Airdate: 7-24- 2023

Popular